Bell UH-1 (Huey)

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, better known as the "Huey”, is the most widely used military helicopter of all time. It was first deployed in Vietnam in 1963, with more than 5,000 of these versatile aircraft being introduced into Southeast Asia before the end of the conflict.

"Hueys" were used for MedEvac, command and control, and air assault; to transport personnel and material; and as gun ships. Considered to be the most widely used helicopter in the world, with more than 9,000 produced from the 1950s to the present, the Huey is flown today by about 40 countries.

About the model

I liked war films particularly from the Vietnam era, and the Bell Huey is a fine example of iconic helicopters of this age. Having wanted to build one I found that there were only small kits on the market so I set about planning to build a larger version. I also wanted to make it ‘special’ by fitting it with a jet turbine engine – the first time that as far as I was aware, anyone had attempted to do this.

Work started in 2001 with the aim of entering it into the US Top Gun event in 2002. It took 9 months to build including developing the mechanics and the jet turbine to power the machine. Peter Jakadofsky from Austria spent a lot of time in building the turbine which had an integrated gearbox while I worked on the model itself.

The result was a 7 foot long model that weighed over 23 pounds and looked totally realistic on both the ground and in the air. It had a see-through cockpit where no sign of the mechanics or engine could be seen. For special occasions it was fitted with rockets that actually were fired while in flight.

Not everything went to plan however, as the model was barred from the Top Gun event due to its gas turbine engine not being ‘approved’.

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